Making the Corner
“Whenever you tell me a story, Laura, I think I know where it’s going,” one of my co-workers recently told me. “But then it takes a bizarre turn. I can never guess how your stories will end.” Sadly she wasn’t talking about my ability to fabricate interesting stories. She was talking about the real life experiences I tend to have on an almost daily basis.
So when my endodontist recently showed me the x-ray of a tooth in dire need of a root canal and said, “Your tooth takes a funny little turn at the tip,” my only thought was, Why would my teeth be any different?
Soon, though, I wasn’t thinking such jovial thoughts about my teeth. “If I can’t make that corner, which I think I can, but if I can’t, we’ll either be looking at full-blown surgery or an extraction,” she said.
Can’t make the corner… All I could think of was my sister calling me an idiot one time when I showed her how well my Audi could take a corner. She wasn’t mad because I lost control of the car because I didn’t. We made the corner with no problem; she was disgusted because she was holding an ice cream sundae and it went flying onto the floor. That was quite a car.
My horse, April, was good at turning too. She should have been a cutting horse or a barrel racer because she could take a corner at a dead run. I used to love to run her down the road and at the last second turn her sharply into the driveway. She didn’t have much space because if she overshot the corner, she’d end up on the cattle guard instead of in the creek. She never missed though. We’d fly up to the driveway, turn sharply around the fence post, plunge into the creek and come out on the other side. It was better than a roller coaster ride and quite a bit more dangerous too.
Indeed the straight path is the desirable and safer way, and I was wishing with all my heart that my teeth had grown nice straight roots instead of crooked ones.
“Please, God,” I prayed, “help my dentist make it around the corner.”
I had quite a bit of time to think while she tried to make it around the corner. With my mouth propped open, the doctor scrambled the nerves, sucked them out, and then filed the inside canal of my tooth smooth; and while she was doing that, I kept trying to remember the Scripture verses that spoke to crooked places being made straight. When I was finally free, I searched for them.
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, And every mountain and hill shall be made low; The crooked places shall be made straight, And the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’” Isaiah 40:3-5
I don’t know why, but I don’t think I ever really knew what these verses were talking about. Perhaps I wasn’t listening in church or I only heard the “crooked ways shall be made straight” part, but they sounded poetic and beautiful. Since Jesus was always making lame legs straight and whole, I let my subconscious believe that was what it was talking about.
In the context of Isaiah, however, the verses are literally speaking about God as He went before the Israelites on their 900 mile trek from Babylon to Palestine, smoothing the way and straightening the path. (Ryrie Study Bible)
I actually think that is pretty beautiful too. When we pray, God goes before us. He doesn’t smooth out every path. Sometimes we need to walk on rough terrain, but what a comfort to know that God is right in front of us and already knows what lies around each corner. We also have His wonderful promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)
Oh, and in case you were wondering about my tooth. The endodontist made the corner.